Amazon on Wednesday said it would provide free shipping on certain orders to West Bank Palestinians, as it does to Israel, after sustaining criticism for offering the benefit to Israeli settlements but not to the region’s Arab population.
Last month the Palestinian Authority’s economy ministry sent a letter of complaint to the retail giant over its shipping policy, after the Financial Times reported that Amazon was offering free shipping to settlements in the West Bank for purchases above $49, but not to Palestinians who marked their address as being in the Palestinian territories.
The report said Palestinians who marked their address as being in Israel did receive the free shipping.
An Amazon spokesman told the FT on Wednesday: “There are multiple technical, legal and logistical challenges that have prevented us from offering our free shipping promotion to our customers in the Palestinian territories. We have been working on a solution to some of these challenges and are now providing access to the free delivery promotion to our customers in the West Bank.”
The free delivery to Israel on certain purchases above $49 was launched in November and is still in effect.
The PA had also called on Amazon to stop its shipping practices to settlements as they are “illegal according to international law.” The PA economy minister Khaled Osaily told the FT that though his government welcomed the new shipping policies to Palestinians, “it’s not enough, because they need to stop working with the settlements [altogether].”
While most of the international community considers settlements to be illegal, Israel, and more recently the US, have argued against this characterization.
Some 464,000 Israeli settlers live across the West Bank, according to the Interior Ministry.
Adam Rasgon contributed to this report.